Tales of Wanderlust

American Expats In The Balkans

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Europe

Budget travel, Europe, Family Travel, Scotland, Travel

Applecross, Scotland- A Photo Diary

I think of our visit to Applecross, Scotland as a bit of a happy mistake. Let me explain. When I went to book a hotel for our time on The Isle of Skye, everything was booked. It was the end of June, so I should have known, but, I didn’t…I started to worry that maybe we just couldn’t go. But that just wasn’t an option. We HAD to go. Our hearts were set on it. Finally I found a place in Applecross, which was about 50 ...
Belgium, Budget travel, Europe, Luxembourg, Travel

Anniversary trip to Europe for (less than) $1800

My husband and I had never left our kids and gone on a trip together in our 7 years of marriage, so last year for our anniversary, we decided it was about time to take a trip together without the kids. We absolutely love traveling with our kids and I did have pangs of guilt leaving them, but it was so good for us. Like SO good for us. We had already spent a fair amount on our family trip to Europe in the spring, so we decided to make this a ...
Albania, Europe, Expat life, The Balkans

10 Things No One Tells You About Expat Life

1. You will find that home becomes a fuzzy concept rather than a place. Pieces of your heart are left in worlds along the way. You find places that resonate so strongly that they become part of you, yet home is no longer a place. 2. You will be standing in a store and a song from your home country will come on. (If you’re from the U.S. the chances of this happening are pretty high). The pang of homesicknesses will hit you so hard it will ...
Albania, Europe, Expat life, Family Travel, Utah

6 Silly Things I Miss About The U.S.

Let me say first, that we love it here, and I’ll do a follow up post on the things here that I prefer, but for today, indulge me in my silly reverie. 1. Yoga freaking pants Yoga pants are the unsung hero in American women’s lives. Actually working out? They are there for you. Pregnant? They got you. Just had a baby? They hold you gently like a hug and don’t squeeze too tightly. Running kids to school? They’ll make ...
Albania, Budget travel, Europe, Expat life, The Balkans

A weekend in Vlore, Albania with kids

Day 1 Last weekend, we took off on our first little road trip in Albania. We’ve been here a month now. I can’t believe it. We bought, licensed, and insured our car on Tuesday, so by Friday at 4:00, we were off! We decided to visit Vlore on the Albanian Riviera which is a couple of hours away. We drove from Tirana and stopped in the smallish city of Fier for dinner. It’s worth a stop. Its beautiful! We had pizza at a local ...
Albania, Europe, Expat life, Family Travel, The Balkans

Finding Your Center as an Expat or Long-term Traveler

I wrote last week about the stages of culture shock and where I was in those stages. It was raw, it was real. I’m happy to say that I think I’ve broken through the fog and am loving our new life here in Albania. Tirana has captivated me once again. Moving is stressful. Moving across the world is more stressful. When you move to a country with different food, language, customs and social mores, it puts your brain and emotions on ...
Albania, Europe, Expat life, Personal, The Balkans

Culture Shock

I’ve always heard this term and thought I understood what it meant. I don’t really get culture shock, I’d think to myself, as if I was somehow immune to it. Well, yeah, you sweet little peach… It’s not that hard to adapt from one western destination with great food, culture, and comfort to the next. In fact it’s often thrilling. Like a natural high! But culture shock is a lot more complex than the image of a tourist freaking out over ...
Albania, Europe, Expat life, Family Travel, Travel

Random jet-lagged musings on our first week in Albania

1. The Albanian people have been so, so kind to us. We’d heard that Albanian landlords weren’t great and getting things fixed could be a headache, but apparently we lucked out because ours came to our home and swept through with gifts for my children (cute little sun hats), potpourri for the house, pretty little nick nacks for our shelves, and the banana candy that their 21 year old son heard William whining about. We asked for a few things, ...